Hello my fellow travelers, how are you? I mean that question truly and welcome you to write to me if you’d like.
I have often shared with you things that I have been privileged to learn from my teacher, Keren Hannah Pryor, she is a messianic Jew who is a teacher and author who writes and shares beauty and truth from Jerusalem. She is a gift who offers rich treasures from her inheritance as a daughter of Abraham.
Today, I want to share with you a phrase she has taught me by her own use of it, “Gam zu l’tovah.” This is Hebrew for, “this, too, is for the good.”
This undyingly optimistic phrase, also sometimes said, “this, too, is for the best!” came from a tradition passed down from Nachum Ish Gamzu, a sage who was the teacher of one of the greatest teachers in history, Akiva ben Yosef, also known as Rabbi Akiva.
The traditional and bold saying has been passed down generation after generation since the time of the second temple because of Nachum’s gravitation to respond to tragedy and even crisis with tenacious…some may even say stubborn…hope. You should read some of the stories, the guy was courageous!
The stories remind me of my mom who I will always remember being stuck in traffic for hours on road-trips with and she would say, “It’s alright, we might have been in an accident if not for this!”, as she passed me and my little sister some snack in the backseat.
Now multiply the intensity, that sitting in traffic can sometimes feel to us Americans, by a few thousand and you’ve got the representative of a persecuted people, the sage Nachum Ish Gamzu, standing before a king, after being robbed, after enduring a treacherous journey by faith…after, after, after — saying, “And this, too, is for the best.” Wow. Surely this is a way of valor, and I dare say, faithfulness.
Something another of my teachers, Cindy Elliot, shared recently, “Hakarat HaTov is the Hebrew word for gratitude. It literally means, ‘recognizing the good’.”
“The good is already there. Practicing gratitude means being fully aware of the good that is already yours.”
-Alan Morinis, Everyday Holiness
You guys, in my personal life I published a new book(let) this week! It is Spring! And, in truth, I am only surrounded by good. Yet this week, and the several weeks prior, have also been world-changing and even world-ending for many in my current home state of Washington with over seventy deaths from COVID-19. I find myself feeling very tender in heart, very curious and yes, at times, anxious, at what all this means.
I am practicing what my mom, my teachers, and men and women of valor for millennia would have me know: gratitude, hope, faithfulness, LOVE. I am looking out, if even with a prayer in the same breath, and choosing to say, “and this, too, is for the good”. May I tell you why? Would you believe me if I told you it is not blind hope?
Come by tomorrow and I’ll tell you my reasons…this “open love letter”, to be continued then…
Read, An Open Love Letter, part 2 here…